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Vuokatti XC disabled: Klebl podiums again

Sit-skier Chris Klebl made made it two cross-country Disabled World Cup podiums in two days Sunday, finishing second again in a 15-kilometer race during the opening weekend of the season.
VUOKATTI, Finland — Sit-skier Chris Klebl made made it two cross-country Disabled World Cup podiums in two days Sunday, finishing second again in a 15-kilometer race during the opening weekend of the season.
    Irek Zaripov of Russia, who started right behind Klebl, won the six-lap race in 41 minutes, 33.4 seconds, with Klebl timed in 42:38.5.
    "It was a pretty good day considering we got to Europe Monday," Klebl said. "I've been fortunate because I've had plenty a lot of time on snow. We've had good snow in Utah and in West Yellowstone [Montana], too."
    Zaripov caught Klebl "about halfway through the third lap. He's sort of the new guy on the Russian team. He can go," Klebl said.
    Vuokatti, like so much of central and northern Europe, has seen a combination of warm temperatures and a lack of snow equate to poor snow conditions. "It's quite bad," Klebl said, adding that machine-made snow is used to form much of the ski tracks and mostly level terrain throughout Finland. He said organizers "use every foot of ascension to put some vertical into the course."
    U.S. head nordic coach Jon Kreamelmeyer said Klebl deserves all the credit for his double-podium start to the new season. "Chris' work ethic in the last eight or nine month, since the Paralympics in Torino [in March] … he said, 'This is what I need to do' and he has gone after it. He's trained, thanks to SkiTam [the major funding source for the U.S. Disabled Ski Team], in New Zealand and he came over here to Vuokatti in October since they have a ski tunnel" where athletes can train indoors, away from poor weather or a lack of snow on a 1.5 km loop.
    "He's been on snow a lot and he's worked hard to get this success. Bottom line: Chris skied very well. I think he's been ready for the season," the coach said.
    Paralympic champion Steve Cook, whose trump card is his skating, was fourth for the second day in a row, this time in the 20 km classic technique. "He made a mental error yesterday [in the 10 km freestyle] and today he skied well again, but the standup class is just so competitive — like the men sit-skiers — and he finished fourth."
    The disabled cross country schedule heads next to Oberstdorf, Germany, for six races.

Vuokatti, Finland — Jan. 14, 2007
Classic technique — All times adjusted
Men's sit-ski 15 km

1. Irek Zaripov, Russia, 41:33.4
2. Chris Klebl, Heber City, Utah, 42:38.5
3. Aliaksandr Davidovich, Belarus, 44:50.8
4. Enzo Masiello, Italy, 45:03.5
5. Oliver Anthofer, Austria, 46:05.0

Men's standup 20 km
1. Kjartan Haugen, Norway, 50:07.1
2. Svein Lilleberg, Norway, 50:53.4
3. Ilkka Tuomisto, Finland, 51:00.0
4. Steve Cook, Salt Lake City, 51:11.0
5. Kirill Mikhaylov, Russia, 51:32.4

Women's sit-ski 10 km
1. Liudmila Valchok, Belarus, 31:06.5
2. Irina Polyakova, Russia, 32:56.3
3. Shauna Whyte, Canada, 33:35.3
4. Maria Iovleva, Russia, 35:30.3
5. Monica Bascio, Denver, 36:09.7

Women's standup 15 km
1. Anna Burmistrova, Russia, 46:52.6
2. Alena Gordunova, Russia, 47:37.8
3. Larysa Varona, Belarus, 48:38.7
4. Maija Loetynoja, Finland, 49:53.4
5. Shoko Ota, Japan, 51:07.

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